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CL farmers, irrigator groups vow to hold protests vs. new NIA chief
By Ding Cervantes

Mar 16, 2017

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - Central Luzon farmers and irrigators associations have vowed to hold continuing protests against the appointment of former Armed Forces chiefof-staff Ricardo Visaya as the new administrator of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

“Visaya was the ground commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army during the 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre that killed seven farmworkers in the disputed Cojuangco-Aquino landholdings,” the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said in a statement yesterday.

KMP also noted that “Visaya was a trusted protege of retired Gen. Jovito Palparan” whom farmers had branded as “berdugo.”

“He was also accountable for the abduction and torture of brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, and the militarization of urban poor communities during Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya,” the group also said.

KMP also recalled that in Mindanao, Visaya served as the commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division which it described as “the notorious military unit responsible for killing and forcible evacuation of farmers and Lumad and their communities in Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.””

“Visaya, a known violator of farmers’ rights has no place at NIA, an agency primarily mandated to provide services to farmers,” KMP stressed.

This, even as the KMP noted that “farmers will also assert the free irrigation services promised by Malacanang, the Department of Agriculture and NIA.”



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